Baltic index rises as smaller vessels gain


The Baltic Exchange’s main dry bulk sea freight index rose for a fifth straight session on Wednesday to its highest level in more than two weeks, on gains in panamax and supramax rates.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, gained 12 points at 4,233, its highest since Aug. 27.

The capesize index dropped 37 points, or 0.6%, to 6,437. But the index was still close to a 12-year peak scaled on Tuesday, driven in part by weather-related disruptions in the East China Sea.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $311 to $53,381.

Iron ore futures in China hit a nine-month low on Wednesday as steel output in China continued to slide.

“As disruption on the Australia-China coal trade enters its second year, new matches are being made between buyers and sellers,” said BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst Peter Sand in a note.

“These changes fit into the wider picture of a strong dry bulk market influenced by congestions, particularly in Asia, soaking up tonnage and pushing freight rates upwards,” he added.

Factors including an overall strong rebound in demand for commodities, congestion in ports, especially in China, and global shipping constraints pushed the main dry bulk index to an 11-year peak on Aug. 27.

The panamax index rose for a fifth straight session, adding 44 points, or 1.2%, to 3,800, highest in over 2 weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased $398 to $34,201.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index added 37 points to 3,247.

Source: Reuters